Night of my ingrate tongue,
I want it all,
I want the sky to stop my lungs.
Do you remember how
I demanded everything impossible from you, night?
I sat upon your voluptuous cushions
like an indolent vizier.
I swallowed the whimpers of a thousand adulterers,
I demanded the towers of my oldest enemies,
and sent for the harpist, the lyre.
And before long I had sucked the marrow
from all the stars.
And you just looked at me, and grinned,
you, night of my ingrate tongue.
And instead of kingdoms, continents,
I had discovered the loneliness that is love’s core.
Last night, it plunged as low as four,
boreal palms of air puckered my cheeks.
Gazing up, a cough-lozenge moon,
a radiant bas-relief of stars,
I could believe in something
that was almost an ideal,
a palpable purity just beyond reach.
Ah, smug stars, I thought,
in the winter you shimmer in arctic richness,
while I pile on extra sheets,
another jersey for good measure.
But I don’t dare switch on the heaters.
Since when did heat become
to thaw the toes of the well-heeled?
At least I am one of the luckier ones.
There’s a roof over my head,
four walls that stop
grim needles of wind at my door.
Tonight kids cough behind frosty car windows
in some shady domain,
a four bedroom home
downgraded to four seats and a steering wheel.
The government’s just sold off
another round of state houses,
the buzzword on corpulent lips is market rationalization.
Well, the dead hand of the market
spreads its icy fingers wider over the city tonight.
Toasty speculators in suburban gold
dream of never-ending spiral staircases,
dreams that go up-up-up
to penthouses in the chandelier sky.
Outside in the streets,
old and young bodies,
(the euphemism is market inefficiencies)
roll over on their cardboard mattresses,
pull useless hats over their ears,
while the temperature drops like a guillotine.
The streets go on expanding into holes in the night,
the waists of women become horizons of ruin,
and a mouth with a soured tongue
that fingers a land burning with the scent of animals,
consumes the innocent roots.
A tongue that invades the quiet thighs of lovers and dead storms,
that smothers deserts wounded with oil,
and dwells in vineyards of dry teeth.
A tongue that drips globs of lime in black seas where rain forests die,
where flowers, afflicted with flame, crawl from the trees,
to bury their faces in the soil forever.
Tongue, like a parallel sky, sleeps with a catatonic girl,
whose belly is a globe of burning ants,
whose eyes are sockets of broken rain.
Beyond the wreckage of my feast, a cicada, dark, like a warship, abides.
In its eye is a mouth with a flavour of ashes that outlives me.
And I taste, in the sweetest orange, in the ripened dawn,
a bitter pip, a murdered branch.